With a network of more than 600 professionals from every industry, the mentor program is the crown jewel of 1871. Every day, mentors dedicate their time and expertise guiding our members from issues ranging from legal to tech and everywhere in between, forming valuable relationships and producing concrete outcomes. This week, we say hello to Dannie Fountain, Associate Account Strategist at Google, and the Founder and Marketing Director of Dannie.
- What skills do you think are the most important for an entrepreneur to have?
Communication -- entrepreneurship is like being in a long-term relationship with your career goals. Things are really exciting and hard in the beginning, but it's important to continue open and honest communication (with yourself, your partners, and your peers) throughout your entrepreneur lifetime.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to a rising entrepreneur?
Don't focus on branding and internet fame so much as true relationships. I think a lot of folks rush to brand their baby -- to give it a name and usher it into the world as something that's seemingly fully developed before it's even had a chance to ruminate and mature in their own mind. This can be crippling down the road -- building a name on something that doesn't accurately describe your end goal. It's better to take your time, do your research, and make sure your positioning is precisely targeted to what you're hoping to achieve.
- What did you have to learn the hard way in your professional life?
I think I got really focused on succeeding right away, and I forgot to take the time to learn. I was so laser-focused on targets, metrics, and KPIs that I didn't attend extra trainings, meet people, build relationships, and so on. Taking the time to focus on the "whole" of your career experience is so crucial to long term success and happiness.
Now for the fun stuff...
- Where is your favorite spot in Chicago? Small Cheval - incredible burgers and milkshakes!
- What is your personal mantra? Fall down seven times, get up eight. Personal or professional failure isn't something to fear -- true failure is having never faltered, because it means you never took a risk.
- What do you like to do in your free time? Adventure! I am a travel junkie through and through.
- What book would you recommend every entrepreneur read? "Pivot" by Jenny Blake.
Are you interested in becoming a mentor or teaching a workshop at 1871? Learn more here.